General Information

CMU at a Glance

Central Methodist University provides a broad range of undergraduate liberal arts and professional education programs. It is co-educational, private, and church-related, and its Fayette campus is largely residential. The College of Graduate and Extended Studies (CGES) has locations throughout the state of Missouri. CMU also offers the Master of Education degree, the Master of Music Education degree, the Master of Science in Clinical Counseling, and the Master of Science in Nursing.

  • Founded in 1854 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church
  • Governed by a 39-member self-perpetuating Board of Trustees
  • Fifteen-to-one student/faculty ratio; class sizes average 21 students

Location & History

The home campus of Central Methodist University is located in historic Fayette, MO, midway between St. Louis and Kansas City, a region of exceptional natural beauty. The ninety-four acre campus is distinguished by its majestic shade and ornamental trees and is designated a National Historic District. Officially authorized to operate as Central College in March 1855, by the legislature of the State of Missouri, the College had antecedents as far back as 1841 when the Methodist Episcopal Church South operated Howard High School on the present site. Classes began at Central College in 1857.

Efforts to unify the educational interests of the church in Missouri led to the absorption of Howard-Payne College by Central College in 1922. This merger was quickly followed by the concentration of all educational interests of the Methodist Episcopal Church South in Missouri, in Central College. Following this plan, the Central College for Women at Lexington, Scarritt-Morrisville College at Morrisville, and Marvin College at Fredericktown were closed in 1924-25, and Central College acquired their assets.

In 1939, with the merger of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and the Methodist Protestant Church, Central College was designated as the one undergraduate educational institution in Missouri for what later became the United Methodist Church. In 1961, the Board of Curators changed the College's name from Central to Central Methodist College.

In 1989, Central Methodist College, in cooperation with Mineral Area College in Park Hills, Missouri, began baccalaureate degree completion programs which afford opportunities for citizens of that region, who have completed their AA degree (or who have 60 hours of college credit), to earn a bachelor's degree. In 1994, Central Methodist College, in cooperation with East Central College in Union, Missouri, began baccalaureate degree completion programs at ECC so that citizens of that region could earn a bachelor's degree. In 1996 the College began offering the Master of Education degree on all three campuses. Since that time, CMU has established partnerships with State Fair Community College (SFCC), Three Rivers College (TRC), and other corporate partners.

In May 2004, the Central Methodist University Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the institution to Central Methodist University. This name change recognized the growth in graduate and extended studies programs and more appropriately describes the Central Methodist University of the 21st century.

Values, Mission, and Educational Goals

Who we Are

Central Methodist University is known for its high quality undergraduate and graduate educational programs, its values-centered learning experiences and longstanding church relationship, its strong liberal arts tradition, its emphasis on character and leadership development, and the success of its graduates through their further educational and professional pursuits. Characterized by academic excellence and proactive, personalized student services, programs are offered in Fayette and statewide via distance learning technologies as well as through partnerships with schools, churches, hospitals, and other institutions of higher education.


Central Methodist University affirms its Wesleyan heritage and its unique place as the only United Methodist-related University in Missouri. The location of its main campus in a small, historic, rural community provides an opportunity for students to live and to learn in a safe setting. The University values its strong liberal arts. CMU and its outreach activities foster a tradition, providing a foundation for excellent professional programs environment in which a diverse student body can develop intellectually, socially, and spiritually. University life emphasizes honesty, integrity, civility, and a strong sense of personal responsibility as integral elements of character and leadership. Central Methodist University nurtures a spirit of community and caring among students, faculty, and staff.


Central Methodist University prepares students to make a difference in the world by emphasizing academic and professional excellence, ethical leadership, and social responsibility.

Statement on Civility (from CMU Creed)

Civility is upholding the values of respect, kindness, and diplomacy in our direct and indirect interactions with others. Diversity is recognizing differences between people and perceiving these differences as an asset to the community

CMU's Guiding Vision Statement and the University Learning Principles

Central Methodist University will be recognized and valued as an institution delivering distinctive academic programs of excellence, nested within a robust and supportive campus environment, preparing students for making a living and living a life.

To ensure that educational experiences at CMU engender the ideals incorporated in the mission and vision statements, the faculty, administration, and trustees adopted new university wide learning principles and associated outcomes in the Spring of 2016. Six of the nine outcomes will be used to assess the general education program (the first two outcomes listed for each principle). The remaining higher order outcome will be assessed at the senior, graduating student level.

Communication (articulate, multimodal, professional)

  1. Students are articulate, able to speak and write clearly and effectively.
  2. Students are multimodal, able to interpret and express ideas through multiple modes of communication.
  3. Students are professional, able to adapt to and interact with others in a confident, responsible, and engaged manner.

Curiosity (discover, analyze, create)

  1. Students can discover, explore, and seek solutions based on accumulated knowledge and current research.
  2. Students can analyze, evaluate, interpret, and summarize data.
  3. Students can create and innovate using critical thinking and collaborative skills.

Community (serve, respect, lead)

  1. Students will serve others and be ethical, informed citizens.
  2. Students will understand and respect diversity, including others' viewpoints, positions, and beliefs.
  3. Students will lead creatively and collaboratively to produce positive changes in the broader world.

Creed for CMU

The Central Methodist University community, consistent with its United Methodist heritage, strives for academic excellence, individual achievement, and social responsibility. As members of that community we believe in:

seeking knowledge, truth, and wisdom

Knowledge refers to the accumulation of facts or ideas. But mere knowledge of facts cannot inform us as to what constitutes the truth. To seek truth means to go beyond the simple facts; it requires that we recognize that facts alone cannot determine what is good or just, that we must be open to other ways of seeking and knowing truth. Habits of the mind should move us beyond knowledge towards wisdom, which requires an understanding that decisions and actions should be based on both knowledge and the will to do good.

valuing freedom, honesty, civility, and diversity

For the academic enterprise to be successful there must be the free, open, and civil exchange of diverse ideas, opinions and information. Ideas and opinions must be shared and compared in order for the best to emerge. Learning is the heart of the academic enterprise and it is only possible when all parties assume the responsibilities appropriate to their roles. Academic integrity consists of the accurate depiction of the actual work or performance of any person. Academic integrity and academic honesty require that each person accept the obligation to be truthful in all academic endeavors. Civility is upholding the values of respect, kindness, and diplomacy in our direct and indirect interactions with others. Diversity is recognizing differences between people and perceiving these differences as an asset to the community.

living lives of service and leadership and

The uniting of knowledge and active faith is a cornerstone of Wesleyan tradition. Academic excellence coupled with acts of kindness and service to the local and global community are indicators of character development on the CMU campus. There are many styles of leadership. Servant leadership, as exemplified in the life of Jesus, is a model for the CMU community.

taking responsibility for ourselves and the communities in which we live.

Being a part of CMU affects not only ourselves, but also the community in which we live. We must all be responsible for our actions and their consequences, but we should also be dedicated to one another. As individuals and as a community we must demonstrate responsible life choices with a deep concern for the common good.